Traverse City, Michigan, often calls itself “The Cherry Capital of the World.” On July 25, 1987, Chef Pierre Bakeries celebrated that status with a cherry pie weighing 28,350 pounds and stretching 17 feet, 6 inches in diameter. While the pie was devoured decades ago, the tin still stands to the side of Cass Road in Traverse City.
The pie tin for the record-setting pie was 18 feet wide and 26 inches deep. It was built by the Jacklin Steel Supply Company of Traverse City. Hundreds of volunteers helped the bakery employees assemble, cook, and serve the pie. When the big day to make the pie arrived, people lined up to help pass down 510 buckets of cherry pie filling to the waiting tin. The pie then received a top crust. When it was finished, a tube sucked out the filling from the pan’s bottom and squirted it into small cups. Pastry crumbs adorned the top of each serving, and the pie fed an estimated 35,000 spectators.
At the time, the Guinness Book of World Records certified Traverse City’s cherry pie as the largest ever, thereby eclipsing the record set by Charlevoix, a neighboring town, 11 years earlier. But the victory was not without controversy: Charlevoix residents argued that the Traverse City pie lacked a bottom crust and therefore did not count as a full cherry pie.
But Traverse City’s record was short-lived: On July 14, 1990, the city of Oliver, British Columbia, baked a 37,721-pound cherry pie, and officially unseated Traverse City as the home of the “World’s Largest Cherry Pie.” However, the Canadian bakers didn’t save their pan, leaving Traverse City still the leader in plus-sized pie tins.